Reliability of The Bible
Author: Byron Pulsifer © 2017
There are numerous articles and books that suggest or directly challenge the reliability of the Christian Bible. For many of you, you may have seen these challenges or attacks either in articles, magazines, books, on the Internet or even directly expressed to you or to others around you. To answer these doubts, challenges or questions about the Bible, the following information should give you reason to believe the reliability of the Bible.
The antiquity and history of the Bible has been supported by many archaeological and historical discoveries so that today it stands as the most vindicated ancient book in the world. In addition, the study of God and rational investigation of questions about existence and knowledge of the Bible is woven within the reliability of its historical presentation.
Defense of Historical Fact
The question becomes who can and will defend the historical facts as described in the Bible? The answer is the defense is undertaken by a person known as a Christian Apologist. The meaning of the word “apologist” comes from the Greek word meaning to mount a defense. Apologist, by the way, has no meaning related to the English word “apology”.
And when we refer to the term ‘Christian Apologetics’, we are talking about a particular branch within the study of God that specifically addresses the question ‘is Christianity believable?’ Since history is more tangible, more able to be proven than philosophical arguments, the Christian Apologist can use historical information in defense of the Bible.
The word “Canon” means a measuring rod; a collection of information which becomes the standard by which everything else is measured and it is the word Canon that is commonly used to refer to the books of the Bible.
Accuracy of Canon
Even though the numerous claims have been made by various people who have argued that there are upwards of 66,000 errors in the Bible, these have been adequately and completely refuted by Christian scholars. However, despite these false claims having been eliminated, their claims are still often repeated.
And given that the historical data of the Bible is sound, the theology within the Bible is also sound under the direct influence and control of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, all the information within the Bible is free from any kind of error.
The text was preserved and transmitted through professional scribes ensuring that each copy was flawless. However, because of the wide dispersal of the Jews in Babylonian times, the spoken Hebrew language gradually diminished. The need to preserve the proper meaning of old Hebrew texts lead to the development of a group of experts known as the Massorates who developed and introduced vowel marks so there was no confusion about what a certain Hebrew word meant.
The text produced by this group was called the Massoratic Text (MT) and it was this text upon which the Old Testament of the King James Version was based. When the Dead Sea Scrolls where discovered dating 1200 years older than the Massoratic Text, a comparison showed that the Massoratic Text was unusually accurate. The purity of the Old Testament was easily demonstrated again.
Integrity of Canon
Attacks against the Bible not only were directed towards the accuracy of the Bible but against its integrity. It was argued by critics that not all books in the Canon (Bible) were the inspired word of God and many books that should have been included were not.
While there was no need to fix or determine Canon before 400 BC because people knew which books were divine, it became imperative after the last book of the Old Testament was written. The reason for the need to set canon was due to the time gap between generations. And, when non Canonical books started to claim divine authorship this forced the Jewish fathers to demonstrate which books were Canon and which were not.
The main point here is to note that Lord Jesus and the Apostles honored the Canon, referred to many scriptural passages, which clearly demonstrated that the Jewish fathers were spiritually competent to recognize what was canon and what was not. Simply stated, the fact that Jesus and the Apostles referred to verses contained in the Old Testament showed they confirmed its accuracy and validity otherwise there would have been absolutely no references made to its content.
When Was Old Testament Written?
The Old Testament Canon was written 1400 years before Christ while the last book Malachi was written 400 years before Christ. With the advent of the writing of many false books claiming divine authorship, the Jewish leaders were quick to realize that these writings were not from God; they were not the inspired Word of God.
Transmitted Without Any Error
Inerrancy of the Bible means that the original manuscripts written by sacred authors guided by the Holy Spirit were transmitted perfectly, without error and exactly what God wanted recorded for all humankind. And since the Word of God is infallible, it cannot err and therefore, contains no errors.
Non-believers know the implications if they can show that the Bible contains errors and this is why different groups of people today continue to spend time casting doubts upon God’s Word whenever they can. And, since inerrancy is at the core of belief for an evangelical Christian, every apologist, in fact, every Christian, should fully understand as well as defend the fact that the Bible contains absolutely no errors.
When looking at the Bible’s testimony to its complete lack of errors, it should be noted that Christ specifically confirmed the whole Old Testament was true. Christ consistently based His arguments on the Old Testament Scripture thus authenticating its’ wholeness and inerrancy.
Extent of Biblical Inerrancy
While it is true that points of view and expressions vary between some books of the Bible, inerrancy does not mean uniformity in all details. If there were not minor variances in details or in expressions, it could easily be concluded that parts of the Scriptures were written through collusion of authors. Thus, it could be stated that the details were more a reflection of the personality of the author rather than each author being a mere robot by reciting the exact same words, details and expressions.
As well, inerrancy does not mean that some style of language used cannot incorporate symbols or figurative language thereby expressing prose, poetry and symbolic expression wherein each can appeal to the varied imagination of mankind. In other words, some people understand more clearly to the written word, others understand poetry more clearly while others like a combination of different styles of writing.
Nor does inerrancy mean that what was said in ancient scientific terminology has to conform to modern day usage nor does it have to claim foreseeable modern science. Simply stated, ancient authors used the language of their times expressing themselves without error in regard to fundamental principles.
Nor does inerrancy mean that modern day critics can argue with the accuracy of historical time lines especially since the time lines of the Old Testament was written and recorded without the benefit of a fixed, universal calendar. For example, the exact reign of Kings was counted differently in different cultures that had differing calendars.
In addition, Jesus Christ used historical incidents in the Old Testament in a manner which demonstrated His complete confidence in the accuracy of these Scriptures thereby authenticating the events as factual history as, for example, He acknowledged that Adam and Eve were created by God as two real living beings; the flood of Noah’s day actually took place; God’s destruction of Sodom was real; and the story of Jonah and the great fish actually happened.
Preservation of Conviction And Belief
Humankind all needs to feel that what they believe in worthwhile, is true and that it has meaning as opposed to believing in something that is unworthy or unproven. For many years, and probably for many more, there will be all types of people who will attack the Bible arguing that it contains many errors and cannot be proven historically. But, we know that the Bible is without flaws or errors and that it has been proven to record accurate history.
So, for those who may have doubts or for those who feel the Bible contains errors can be assured that this is not the case. Every person can verify the total lack of errors in the Bible and verify its’ accuracy and historical evidence.
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